States may pre-empt US emission standards

Fearing that 2007 and 2010 federal air pollution standards may be delayed or weakened, about a dozen states are pursuing their own diesel pollution controls on trucks and buses based on stringent California standards.

“We are moving ahead with this action to provide absolute certainty that these standards take effect on time,” said S William Becker, executive director of the State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators (STAPPA) and the Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials (ALAPCO). STAPPA and ALAPCO are two national associations of air pollution control agencies in the states, territories, and major metropolitan areas across the United States.

“I would expect dozens of states to pursue the adoption of California standards,” he said. In a joint letter to the American Trucking Associations, the group said it would “work with states to opt into California's highway diesel emission standards for 2007.”

Officials of the US Environmental Protection Agency vow that the new rules will be instituted and engine makers and others will be held to the standard.

Some trucking companies have complained that the proposed standards would make engines too expensive to buy and they would use too much fuel.

Federal law permits states either to follow the EPA standards or to adopt California motor vehicle standards because they are similar, although the California standards are more stringent, EPA officials said.

The US Supreme Court is deliberating the legal right of a regional California planning commission to institute air pollution standards that are more stringent than federal standards for government-owned trucks.

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